Deke's Techniques 262: Creating a Honeycomb Pattern from Scratch in Illustrator

Creating a Honeycomb Pattern from Scratch in Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke creates a honeycomb out of simple repeating hexagons by applying Transform to a simple hexagon. It's one of those delightful Illustrator exercises in which you start with something simple, use commands to apply effects, and end up with something that takes form before your very eyes (sooner if you remember to turn on the Preview check box.) 

If you can draw a hexagon with the Shape tool in Illustrator (and I know you can, because I can do it and I'm as efficient in Illustrator as I am at making rice---at which I inexplicably suck), you can rotate, duplicate, and embellish that shape into a sweet effect. 

So, you start with the shape, measure some stuff (Deke will show you how), and create this grid of hexagons:

  To this you apply a series of transformations to get this effect:

And if that's not enough, there's a lynda-member exclusive movie this week in which Deke adds multiple stroke effects to increase the 3D nature of the honeycomb. Like this: Read more » 

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The Creative Cloud Update to Illustrator One-on-One: Advanced Is Now Live

My darling dekeIstrators, ready for some up-to-date, cutting-edge (as much as a 25-year-old application can cut edges) training for vector drawing? Welcome to Illustrator CC One-on-One: Advanced (released this week at

(And if you're not a member and would like to check it out anyway, you can get a free week's trial at And if you're not a member of Creative Cloud, you can still watch the CS6 version with the same subscription.)

In this third installation of Deke's signature Illustrator video training series, Deke delves into some rather sophisticated topics that will help you create equally sophisticated artwork. Here's an overview of the Table of Contents and some of the hands-on projects Deke uses to demonstrate those high-powered Illustrator tools: 

Chapter 22: Shortcuts and Settings
In this chapter, Deke reviews the custom shortcuts (dekeKeys) and color settings that he recommends for efficiently working in Illustrator. 


Chapter 23: Blends and Masks
Blends and Masks are some of the oldest features in Illustrator. Blending allows you to create custom gradients and transitions. Masking allows you to place those blends inside the confines of a path outline. Both operate dynamically to allow you edit their outcomes at any time.  Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 253: Drawing the Pen Tool Icon in Illustrator Without Using the Pen Tool

Drawing the Pen Tool Icon without the Pen Tool

Anyone who knows me knows I approve of any drawing exercise that eschews the Pen tool. It's not that I don't appreciate the power of a finely crafted Bezier curve, it's just that I'm completely inept at using the tool used to create them in Adobe Illustrator. 

That's why this week's free Deke's Techniques episode is particularly, delightfully, useful to me. Using a variety of Illustrator features, none of which are the Pen tool itself, Deke reveals the variety of implements he used to create the Pen tool icon in last week's useful graphic, which, ironically, showed you how to understand the various states of the Pen tool:

For the record, I highly approve of irony. (By the way, if you love the Pen tool, or wish you loved it, or have always been slightly confused by what it's trying to tell you, you can actually download this very chart from last week's post. )

The icon takes shape via a combination of the Line Segment tool, the Reflect tool, the Round Corners option, the Rotate tool, and, of course, the Transform command (for the itinerant asterisk that accompanies the Pen tool cursor in its native state.) Even if you're not interested in the Pen tool per se, this exercise will empower you with an entire toolset at the ready for the next iconic rendering you might attempt.  Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 250: Precisely Align Objects to the Grid in Illustrator

Aligning Objects to the Grid in Illustrator

I've always loved working on graph paper. And not just for the standard graphing and charting mathematical type stuff, but for words, notes, and doodles, too. Turning on the grid in Illustrator is a lot like drawing on that no-photo blue quad-ruled paper: You can use the grid to precisely align objects, then make it disappear in the final result. 

This week's free Deke's Techniques movie shows you how to use the grid in Illustrator, using key Illustrator features like Snap to Grid and Smart Guide, to precisely align the elements in a chart (a chart which oddly enough demonstrates the various states of the Pen tool in Illustrator--bonus learning!).

For members of, there's an exclusive movie this week in which Deke shows you how to make these precisely aligned, line interrupting arrow heads:

If you're not a member of, you can get a free week trial by going to and signing up. 

Meanwhile, if you'd like to have this handy reference file on hand, both to practice your grid aligning and to learn about what those Pen tool cursors mean, I've made this week's sample file available here for everyone. Click here to download and enjoy. 

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A Sense of Intermediacy: New Intermediate Courses for Photoshop and Illustrator CC

It was a windfall week in video training if you're ready to move past Deke's beginner-level courses and you're using Creative Cloud. This week, online training company released CC-friendly versions of both Photoshop One-on-One: Intermediate and Illustrator One-on-One: Intermediate.  

The Photoshop course tackles those next-level features like the potentially useful Content-Aware tools, adjusting photographic tone with the Levels command, adding and managing text in your graphic, creative control via Layer Styles, and printing (to mention a few subjects). Click the image below to see the full table of contents at 

Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate

Meanwhile, the Illustrator course covers vital layout features like Layers and Groups, the controlling your objects with the Pathfinder panel, understanding Swatches and Stacking order, the oh-so-cool and useful Gradient features, and (again) more. You can click this image to see the full TOC of the Illustrator course: 

Illustrator CC One-on-One: Intermediate

If you're not quite ready to become a member of, but you're interested in taking this dekeInstruction for a test drive, I have two useful ideas for you: 

First, you can get a free week's subscription to by going to A week will let you peruse these two courses, as well as the bajillion other videos available. (At least, it was a bajillion last time I checked. Probably more than that now.) 

Also, always unlocks a certain number of movies in any new course. For instance, you can check out "Using the Pattern Generator" without being a member (temporary or otherwise). The movies that are listed in blue in any course TOC are free to all.  Read more » 

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